A Colorado man who was robbed of 16.4 bitcoins in 2018 — when it was worth up to $220,000 — has now sued the alleged UK-based thieves as well as their parents.
Despite the alleged robbery happening in January of 2018, Andrew Schober did not file the suit until May of this year, saying that he’s spent $10,000 trying to track down the looted crypto and that it’s caused “grave financial and personal harm.”
Schober’s suit, filed in Colorado District Court, says the looted bitcoin accounted for about 95 percent of his net wealth at the time it was stolen and that he planned to use the proceeds to finance a home and support his family. It’s not clear when Schober bought the bitcoin or at what price.
The suit says Schober “has been in a severe state of distress for the past three years.”
Bitcoin was last seen trading at about $47,000 per coin, making his original 16.4 digital tokens worth almost $775,000.
Schober alleges that Benedict Thompson, of Hampshire, UK, and Oliver Read, of West Yorkshire, UK, orchestrated the theft when they were minors.
Thompson is now studying computer science at the University of Warwick, the suit says, and Read previously studied computer science at Greenhead College in the UK.
When the two were boys, they allegedly advertised criminal software on Reddit, where Schober inadvertently installed it, thinking it was a legitimate program.
The malware was able to direct Schober’s bitcoin to a third-party account that allegedly belonged to Thompson and Read.
At first, Schober tried to retrieve the looted bitcoin by contacting the boys’ parents in October 2018, according to court documents.
“It seems your son has been using malware to steal money from people online,” reads the opening paragraph of a letter Schober emailed to them. “Losing that money has been financially and emotionally devastating. He might have thought he was playing a harmless joke, but it has had serious consequences for my life.”
But Schober said he never heard back from the families, so he took legal action this year, just as the price of bitcoin soared to new highs and his lost fortune became even greater.
In court documents filed earlier this month, the defendants asked for the case to be dismissed on the grounds that the time for Schober to take legal action has run out.
“Because Plaintiff did not file his lawsuit until May 21, 2021, three years and five months after his injury, his claims should be dismissed,” an Aug. 6 filing reads.
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